Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Challenge 1 - Daybreak over Damaraland

The wild animals of Namibia are early risers it would seem and, if you want to be in with a chance to see any of them, you have to get up *before* the crack of dawn.

Journey out of Damaraland

Once again Eric gives us a wake up call. This time it's for 5am. It's still dark outside when we rise and the fire is being rekindled for breakfast.

Time to tuck in...

Breakfast in Damaraland

Raymond walks over, grinning... He tells us that he had Lions outside his tent last night and he'd heard them walk through the camp while we slept.

Only then did I realise what I'd heard the night before. I double and triple checked to be sure, even go so far as to attempt to repeat the low rumbling sound myself.

Raymond still grins... "Yes James, Lions. Straight through camp."

After a hearty breakfast (including another first for Manzoor: Marmite) Eric picks up the Lions' trail and we head out on the 4x4 to see if we can find them.

It's cold out here in the morning and Eric tells us the strong winds are keeping the animals away and out of sight. We follow the trail for as long we can but to no avail.

The lions it seems, have moved on.

We head back past camp. All our bags are loaded up and we start the long drive out of the concession. We spot the same animals as we did yesterday and as the wind dies down, they seem more and more abundant.

Damaraland: Springbok

Springboks in Damaraland

Jackals in Damaraland

Zebras in Damaraland

Arriving back at the airstrip we load up our Cessna, Elsa - our pilot - is flying us out to the Hartmann Valley.

Hartmann Valley 'Airfield'

The past 24hrs have been a complete whirlwind. The camping, the terrain, the animals, the experience... it seems that the group has bonded on a whole new level. A collective sense of awe has descended on us all and, as we board the plane to our next destination, we really have no idea what to expect.

The Lucozade Winners w/ Eric & Raymond

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